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Cat with *extreme* social anxiety

Zoneseek
October 8th, 2008, 02:04 PM
Hi all, figured I would post this here and see if anyone has ever run into this kind of thing before.

My girlfriend and I recently moved in together. She has 2 cats, I like cats and my family had a cat when I was younger. One of her cats is perfectly normal, the other one is mentally screwed, to put it lightly. It is a seal pointed ragdoll, with the most extreme social anxiety I have ever seen in a domesticated animal.

The cat absolutely hates to be seen by anyone other then her and will refuse to come out from under the bed if anyone other then she is in the house. The cat will come out to eat/drink and use the litter box once a day, otherwise will never leave from under the bed. He would do the same thing when ANYONE came to her apartment where she used to live, but it would only be for a few hours while people were there, so it wasn't anything to be concerned about. Now that I am around basically whenever she is around, noone ever sees this cat, its under the bed the whole time anyone is in the house and refuses to come out, to the point of hissing and clawing the carpet if she tries and brings him out.

Some other points of history with this cat would be when he had fits of panic when the bed wasn't there because of moving twice in the past, and once he even jumped off a 35ft high deck because he didn't know who was opening the door TO the deck.

I personally think this cat is the most ridiculous animal I have ever seen, but she loves him so what can you do. She got him from a breeder who kept all her cats locked up together and away from humans so they were never socialized properly, but this is just insane. She noticed something was wrong right when he was a kitten and she brought him home, and he wouldn't come out for days at a time. Personally I would have taken him back for my money, what a waste, but shes not that kind of person.

Any ideas what can be done? Its only been two weeks and its driving me nuts hearing about it non-stop and having to feed a ball of hair that noone ever sees.

Thanks in advance for your help.

phoozles
October 8th, 2008, 02:10 PM
Sounds like you're going to have to be patient with this guy - poor thing..
I recommend going into the room where the bed is and talking gently to him, for about 10 minutes at least once a day. Don't force him to come out, but you could bring treats with you - cats really equate food with something good. If he doesn't eat them while you're there, leave them behind.. he'll figure out that you're bringing them in. He needs to associate you with good and safe things - if he's stressing you out, don't let him see it..
:fingerscr that he'll come around. Keep us posted!

phoozles
October 8th, 2008, 02:11 PM
Oh, and you might consider getting a Feliway diffuser for that room - it's made up of cat pheremones and is used to calm them down. You can buy it on ebay. :thumbs up

sugarcatmom
October 8th, 2008, 02:17 PM
She got him from a breeder who kept all her cats locked up together and away from humans so they were never socialized properly, but this is just insane.

Backyard breeder. This cat is practically feral, thanks to that ignoramus. But anyway, dealing with the here and now..... I realize you're finding this difficult, but please be patient and try to empathize with how the cat is feeling. Your moving in is an enormous stress for him and it's going to take some time to win him over. Are you up for the challenge? There are some tips on this post on how to do that: http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?p=492728&highlight=shy+cats#post492728

Also look into a product called Feliway. It's a synthetic pheromone that some cats find calming. There is also Rescue Remedy, which are flower essences that can help relax stressed animals.

Good luck.

sugarcatmom
October 8th, 2008, 02:20 PM
Oh, and you might consider getting a Feliway diffuser for that room -

Good call Phoozles. I'm a slow typer.

Zoneseek
October 8th, 2008, 02:37 PM
Thanks for the posts, I will look into one of those pheromone deals tonight...

If he never wants to come out he can stay under the bed 24 hours a day it wouldn't bother me at all, what bothers me is his owner being stressed out about it and worrying about it every 15 minutes!!!

Me coaxing him out with treats would never work, she can't even get him to come out! As soon as she touches the treat bottle and puts some on the ground, max (the other cat) comes tearing in to eat them up haha.

Tundra_Queen
October 9th, 2008, 12:01 AM
Hi
Like the others said Feliway is good to try and be patient. It might take months for him to trust you as you don't know what happened to him in that other place. He may have been mistreated, as in hit.

The cat is probably also getting that his owner is stressed and that is not helping him. Cat can tell when a person is stressed as they read the body language. Tell your g/f to just talk to the cat like she always has, like he's not even under the bed but walking around.

Take the newspaper or a book into the bedroom and read it outloud if u feel silly talking to a cat. Mention his name a few times, so he thinks u are talking to him.

Is there some way u can keep Max out of the bedroom by closing the door so the rag doll can eat the treats when your not there?

Debbie

Love4himies
October 9th, 2008, 07:07 AM
:laughing::laughing: I have a ragdoll or ragdoll x and he has anxiety issues too, but doesn't hide, he walks around and around and around the island or kitchen table when there is too much activity in the house and you can't stop him, the more activity the faster he walks.

If you are pulling him out from under the bed when he doesn't want to come out, you are making him more stressed and will only make things worse, if you are frustrated while doing this, then it is making it twice as bad.

I agree with Tundra_Queen, sitting calmly in the bedroom, keeping Max out of the room when there are treats involved.

chico2
October 9th, 2008, 07:20 AM
Feliway,or Rescue Remedy is a good idea:cat:
Also,I would not try to force him out from his"safe"spot,leave him be,as long as he is eating and drinking,going about whatever you are doing,talking to him calmly.

Your GF stress surely affects him,she's stressing and so is the kitty:shrug:
Maybe he has some kind of medical condition,has he been for a check-up and bloodwork?.
Hiding away from the world could mean he is in discomfort,but then again,if he's always been like this:shrug:

14+kitties
October 9th, 2008, 07:25 AM
Poor sweetie. Not only is he putting up with an intruder into "his" space the intruder is showing what sounds to me to be some hostility toward him judging from what you have written. The cat picks up on that and it is making him worse. The cat, to put it mildly, is petrified.

Everyone has given you fantastic advice. The only thing I can add is that you may need to stress a little less too. As I said, kitty knows who loves him and it sure doesn't sound like you do.

Hazmat
October 9th, 2008, 10:13 AM
Has he been neutered? If not then try it, it can really calm them down but sometimes takes months for the testosterone level to go down to a point where you will notice a difference.

BenMax
October 9th, 2008, 10:30 AM
Poor sweetie. Not only is he putting up with an intruder into "his" space the intruder is showing what sounds to me to be some hostility toward him judging from what you have written. The cat picks up on that and it is making him worse. The cat, to put it mildly, is petrified.

Everyone has given you fantastic advice. The only thing I can add is that you may need to stress a little less too. As I said, kitty knows who loves him and it sure doesn't sound like you do.

I could not agree more and this is exactly what I am thinking. Cats are very sensitive and are very in tuned with emotion. From what I gather your girlfriend loves this cat and most probably you as well. For your girlfriend she is trying to appease you and at the same time desperately trying to get your approval by maybe (i could be wrong) trying to get the cat and you on the same page (by perhaps forcing an interaction between you and the cat).

All I can say is support your girlfriend and go very slowly with the cat. Let your girlfriend go normally with her business which involves the cat and not feel pressured that the cat is not responding the way you feel is appropriate. Granted - this cat was not well socialized and it will take time for him to warm up to you - but with patience and understanding it will happen....you'll be surprised how much love you will get from this cat and more so from your girlfriend for supporting her....take it from a woman!

BenMax
October 9th, 2008, 01:39 PM
Oh, and you might consider getting a Feliway diffuser for that room - it's made up of cat pheremones and is used to calm them down. You can buy it on ebay. :thumbs up

Sorry for asking but I have never heard of Feliway diffuser? I did not even know such products existed??? Shame on me.

phoozles
October 9th, 2008, 02:23 PM
Sorry for asking but I have never heard of Feliway diffuser? I did not even know such products existed??? Shame on me.

It doesn't work for all cats, but I think it's actually starting to work with mine - and we've got a crazy stressed out situation going on :rolleyes: :thumbs up

chico2
October 9th, 2008, 03:34 PM
BenMax,I have a cat(Rocky)who when he gets excited sprays and has over the year destroyed quiet a lot of stuff.
Feli-Way has been a lifesaver,Rocky has stopped spraying 99,9% of the time,so it certainly worked for us.
I too get mine on E-Bay,not available here anymore:yell:
The vets sell it,but it's about 3 times the price,maybe even 4 times of what I pay.

Jim Hall
October 9th, 2008, 06:26 PM
lol ball of fur !!! yup i called mine a rock with eyes took almost 3 months os laying on the floor and reding to her the texas instrument handbook trvels with charly may have read dune to her and gos knows what else

you know what though when she finally came out and said hi it was so breathtaking that my heart jumped patinece also maybe make another safe place for her away from the other cats? a closet or a quiet cornor with a nice piece of cloth with her owners smell on it. fellway is great but it takes time

btw w\hat does the vet have to say ?

chico2
October 10th, 2008, 06:55 AM
I think the OP got his answers,I was hoping he would be back:shrug:
14+ is right,sensing the negative attitude of the OP,certainly contributes to the cats fears.
Also,the way to a cat-lovers heart is to love her cats:cat:

14+kitties
October 10th, 2008, 07:03 AM
:cat::cat::cat::cat::cat::cat:
Love me, love my cats.
:cat::cat::cat::cat::cat::cat:

Jim Hall
October 10th, 2008, 09:43 AM
i can empathise with zone"s frustration its not easy esp with the roomate stresssing so much

14+kitties
October 10th, 2008, 01:15 PM
i can empathise with zone"s frustration its not easy esp with the roomate stresssing so much

Jim, I didn't say I didn't empathise with him. I do, to an extent. But being frustrated and showing it is not going to help the cat. This is a pet forum. That is what we are worried about on this forum, the pets. If people have issues then they can go to the "people" forum.
As for empathising......... my hubby sure never signed on for 30 cats when we met. I deal with his complaints every single day. The cats are still here.

Jim Hall
October 10th, 2008, 03:33 PM
absoululy no criticism implied dear I just thouhgt id give a liitle support

chico2
October 10th, 2008, 03:52 PM
Jim,we know:cat:
The thing is,this little cat is stressed with this new negative person in it's maybe already stressed life.
Cats are not people,they are complicated little creatures,you cannot just say she's crazy,there is always a reason why a cat is the way it is.

14+kitties
October 10th, 2008, 10:07 PM
absoululy no criticism implied dear I just thouhgt id give a liitle support


Yeah, I know. You guys have to stick together! :D :p